Do you know your limits? You know, the outside edge of what is possible.
People push their limits all the time. Weightlifters want to know the heaviest they can lift. Teenagers want to challenge their parent’s authority. Fighter airplane test pilots feel the need for speed and to find the outside edge of the envelope.
It is good to know what you can and can’t do.
So my question for you today, is do you know yours? Are you testing your limits with your business?
For example, do you know the maximum number of sales calls you can make in an hour?
What is the fastest that you’ve ever set up and registered a six-color screen print job?
How many weeks in a row are your accounts receivable total at zero?
For Direct to Film Transfers, how many can you apply correctly to a garment in an hour?
What is the biggest number of screens that you have reclaimed and coated in a day?
For embroidery, what is the maximum number of runs you have produced in a shift?
You get the idea.
Why Limits Matter
If you are thinking and working with limits, you are also measuring. And, as we all know, what gets measured gets improved.
Therefore, pushing the limits in your processes, procedures, and everyday work helps you improve your efficiency in doing them.
Mindlessly accepting the status quo doesn’t quite cut it. After all, when we improve things, we lower costs. When costs decrease, profits increase.
Don’t you want to make more profit? Then start looking at your current limits.
Finding the Edges
There are an incredible number of things that you should be measuring in your shop. Here’s a tip if you are not quite sure where to start: Look for the biggest bottleneck in your workflow.
What is the thing that is holding you back from accomplishing more each day? It is going to be different for every business, but it is a boat anchor all the same.
It could be in sales. Maybe it is something that one department is always waiting on, such as inventory or screens. It could be a post-production process like embroidery trimming or packaging the finished product for shipment.
Start with observation.
Record how you do it now. Write down the steps. Use your cell phone and film how you do it. Talk to the people doing the work. Ask, “What’s broken?” or “What do you need to do this better?”
Start measuring what you want to improve. It is important to benchmark where you are now.
As my friend Mark Coudray is constantly saying about change, “There are only three things that can happen and only one of them is good. Things are going to get better, things are going to stay the same, or things are going to get worse.”
As you work to improve something, keep pushing the limits. Are the changes you are making improving things? Even if you are making small improvements, that is good news.
Tiny improvements stack. A little bit here. Some tiny improvement there. And before you know it, there is a major difference in your final result.
Keep pushing the limits on what you are doing. That’s how you grow and get better.
“Limits, like fear, is often an illusion.” – Michael Jordan
“Every man takes the limits of his field of vision for the limits of his world.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
“You have to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. You have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and push your limits.” – Jesse Itzler
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Marshall Atkinson also shares exclusive blog content at Supacolor.com. Supacolor makes The World’s Best Heat Transfer and provides tips, inspiration, and other resources designed to empower professional garment printers.